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Imagine this, mama. You have a baby, you’re sore and swollen, and you have to zip up a pair of jeans. I’ve already lost you? Great, me too. Because when you’re postpartum, it’s all about leggings, friend. And as a mama who practically lives in leggings (our editor calls me the legging queen), I can assure you that no one is better equipped to help you find the best postpartum leggings than I am!
Postpartum leggings have a lot of built in support features that are great for your changing body after baby. Plus, leggings are irrefutably comfortable as all get out, so it makes sense that so many of us live in them during pregnancy and postpartum.
As usual for this site, we love to share recommendations with you of things we actually love and use. That’s why we’re rounding up the most comfy and stylish mama-approved postpartum leggings we can find.
When you’re dealing with all the discomforts of the postpartum experience, trust us–you’re going to love these!
What Are Postpartum Leggings?
So what’s the difference is between maternity leggings, regular ‘ole leggings, and postpartum leggings? Fair question. Glad you asked.
There are 2 key differences between postpartum leggings and more traditional ones.
(1) Postpartum leggings are supportive
Your uterus will still be swollen for around six weeks after birth (longer for some women), so it’s likely that you will still have what looks like a swollen belly. Also, your pregnancy may have wreaked a bit of havoc on your pelvic floor, and those muscles need some loving support.
Postpartum leggings will help support your smaller belly and pelvic floor muscles, keeping you comfortable while also aiding in your recovery.
(2) Postpartum leggings are great for recovery
Let’s face it: your body is going through a lot after birth. And while everything hurt, you may also have a screaming new baby while being so tired you can’t see straight.
You need something to help with your recovery, and you likely aren’t putting in that time on your won. Good postpartum leggings are designed with your achy anatomy in mind.
What to Look for in the Best Postpartum Leggings
When choosing the best postpartum leggings for you, there are 4 main things to consider:
- Fabric & fit
- Compression vs normal
(1) Fabric & Fit
When searching for postpartum leggings, search for a few simple things.
- Height on your waist – you want high leggings that will hold in your belly and, if applicable, rise above your c-section scar
- Fabric – stretchy, comfortable material is a must. So is fabric that’s machine washable! Look for low percentages of spandex mixed with cotton (often the softest), rayon (tends to have good compression), and modal (usually the softest on the skin)
- Compression – you may want compression to support your belly and pelvic floor muscles, or you might be someone who’s more comfortable in something loose and stretchy. While all postpartum leggings are stretchy, some provide more support than others, so look for the best fit for your needs.
(2) Compression vs. Normal
Compression leggings are meant to provide support for your weak abdominal muscles and pelvic floor. They’re especially helpful on days when you’ll be up walking around, doing chores, running errands, or if you’re exercising. The added support can work wonders for your body.
But sometimes, we just want to be comfortable. On days when you won’t move as much, normal leggings without built-in compression features are a perfect fit!
When purchasing leggings created specifically for maternity postpartum, order your pre-pregnancy size. If you’re buying normal leggings to wear during the postpartum period, we recommend sizing up by one size.
If you’re ever unsure what size to buy, be sure to consult the size chart for the particular product you want.
Postpartum leggings come in a variety of price ranges, so choose what works best for you.
If you need good support for your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles (for instance, if you’re peeing yourself or feel weak in the abdomen), then paying for more expensive, supportive leggings is well worth the cost. But if that support doesn’t feel necessary, you may have just found a place to save yourself some money.
What Can I Wear to Hide My Post Baby Belly?
This is the question we hear the most from mamas looking for the best postpartum leggings. So let’s address it.
First, the fact that our society has made you feel you need to hide your post baby belly makes us sad. News flash, world: most postpartum women still look about 5 months pregnant after giving birth, and THAT. IS. NORMAL.
The baby doesn’t just come out, and voila!, you’re back to normal. Your uterus needs time to return to normal after housing another human being for nine freaking months. Not to mention that your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles have a whole lot of healing to do, which is why we’re talking about support far more than hiding your belly bulge.
That said, I know that many of us have some VERY REAL struggles with postpartum body image. As much as I rage against it, I struggled with it too. I think most of us do.
And the reality is that postpartum leggings can help hide your still-shrinking belly because they support and (minimally) compress your belly. Many of them are also extra high, which is great for covering c-section scars and good for belly coverage.
Plus, it’s just easy to throw on a maternity or nursing top over them to help cover your belly if you are more comfortable that way.
So to answer your question, postpartum leggings are a good choice for hiding your postpartum belly. But I hope you don’t feel like you have to.
Can I Wear Leggings After Giving Birth?
The short answer to this is “yes.” There is no real reason (that we know of) that you shouldn’t be able to wear leggings after giving birth. If you’re at risk for blood clots, compression leggings could actually be a really great idea (compression in your legs, NOT your tummy!)
However, if you’ve had a c-section, you might want to consider buying leggings specifically for c-section mamas (we’ll get to this soon). Regular leggings could put pressure on your incision site, which might be uncomfortable for you.
If you’ve delivered vaginally, you will require different postpartum care, and leggings are your friend.
Leggings that are actually made for postpartum mamas take compression, fabric, and sizing into effect.
Many brands use fabrics that are cooling and that will wick moisture away from your body. Postpartum leggings are also sized a bit differently to account for air to flow more freely and your body to not feel quite as restricted in them as you might feel in a pair of regular leggings.
Also, any pair of postpartum leggings worth its salt will be SEAMLESS. You want to make sure that no seam is getting anywhere near your vagina or c-section scar!
The Best Postpartum Leggings of 2021
Now that you’ve learned more than you ever wanted to know about postpartum leggings, here’s what you’ve been waiting for.
These leggings have been tested by the thousands of mamas in our community, the ones on our editorial team, and in some cases, even our favorite pelvic floor therapists. Without further ado, the best postpartum leggings:
We put these first for a reason, mama. Are they pricey? Yes. Are they worth it? 100% These leggings are the top recommendation by most of our favorite pelvic floor therapists, and it’s no wonder why. The founder of Bao Bei is a pelvic floor therapist herself, so she knows what she’s doing to support our changing bodies!
These high waisted leggings are designed with just the right amount of compression to support your abdomen, low back, pelvis, and legs. The fabric wicks away moisture, essential for those adjusting hormones and days when baby is constantly connected to you. And the high waist helps cover your belly and provides comfortable coverage when nursing.
Good to Know
Good for day-to-day and exercise. Size up if you’re looking for support early postpartum.
These are a cult favorite among mamas, and for good reason! Blanqi makes great leggings, and the fact that they have actual postpartum/nursing support leggings just ups the ante even further.